When you think of chocolate, what do you think of? A chocolate bar? Chocolate fudge on an ice cream sundae, chocolate M&Ms? Like most, these are the common sugary-sweet items that come to mind. Many, if not most chocolate lovers don’t even know where this confectionery treat derives from. Here is a fun, brief, history of chocolate.
Who would have thought chocolate began as a sugar-less beverage?
Chocolate was first consumed as a bitter, fermented beverage, produced by Mesoamericans as early as 1900 B.C. These beverages were made of ground-roasted, cacao beans that turned into a paste, mixed with water, vanilla, chili peppers and other spices. This drink was far from what we know as hot chocolate today.
In 1519, the Europeans first discovered the cacao bean in the Aztec. In the mid-1500s, it
quickly became a luxury good available only to the royal and catholic societies.
In the 1600s, chocolate became available in London in specialty cafes and shops. By the 1700s, the French marketed the ever-popular “bonbons,” delicious, little bite-sized chocolate treats. During this same time, baker’s chocolate, a bitter, unsweetened chocolate used to add flavor to recipes was founded.
In 1828 in Amsterdam, Coenraad van Houten pioneered the process of grinding cocoa beans, producing a tasty chocolate powder. We have him to thank for hot chocolate!
In 1831, John Cadbury, of the signature Cadbury Dairy Milk bar, opened the first Cadbury factory in England. In 1868, their signature boxes of chocolate candies were marketed.
Then in 1847, British chocolate company, J.S. Fry & Sons created the first solid chocolate bar, made of cocoa powder, cocoa butter, and sugar.
In 1879, Rodolphe Lindt, of Lindt Chocolate, invented a machine that improved the texture and taste of chocolate. These advances made mass production possible.
In 1905, Hershey began mass-producing their signature chocolate bars. Soon after in 1907, the iconic Hershey Kisses were founded.
Between 1920 and 1930, popular American candy bars were introduced, including Butterfinger, Snickers, Baby Ruth, and Milky Way.
Americans consume 2.8 billion pounds of chocolate each year. That’s over 11 pounds per person! It goes without saying that we are a chocolate-crazed country… and for good reason! Chocolate seems to magically go hand in hand with so many other food items: peanut butter, ice cream, cakes, cookies, and even bacon! What’s your favorite chocolate delight? If you’d like to learn more about our sweet treats or order some of our tasty gifts, simply contact us!